In October 2015, I began to think it might be fun to write fourteen sonnets every month for fourteen months, starting in the following November. I called the project Fourteen³ - (fourteen lines per sonnet) x (fourteen sonnets per month) x (fourteen months) = 2,744 lines of poetry!
Part of the project was to change the style of sonnet each month, using each style twice. Below are examples of heroic couplet, chiastic (which I invented!), terza rima and Shakespearean sonnets. I also experimented with Petrachans, Spencerians, and Onegin Stanzas, the last of which were used to create a pair of short stories at the heart of the whole sequence.
The themes and styles of the sequence also varied wildly - from the secular to the religious, and the serious to the ridiculous - but fundamentally, the series is about a year (and a bit) in my life in which I went from dabbling in doggerel to taking poetry more seriously, and during which I became a father.
The completed project currently resides here with, hopefully, some books to hit Amazon in the not too distant future. Read 'em while they're free!
Below are some examples from the Fourteen³ series.
I scatter seed upon the barren earth,
I cannot now divine which ones have worth,
I simply sow enough that some might grow,
And send some unseen root to depths below,
That some brave shoot might stretch toward the sun,
And at its head an ear of grain be spun,
So when it is by random winds withdrawn
It might take root in someone else’s lawn.
Each month I write myself in fourteen forms,
Distill my idle, sunny days, and storms,
And send them out for random winds to find,
In hope they’ll land in someone else’s mind.
I wonder if some fragment of my art,
Will chance to root in someone else’s heart.
I lived to see them bleed as they were stoned,
My zealous hate consumed me like a flame,
And by the priests my hatred was condoned:
I went to silence those who bore His name.
But on the road I saw His awesome might,
I heard His voice and fell upon my face.
He struck me blind so I might come to see
The glory of the one who died for me.
And when His servant came to show me grace,
My sight returned so I could see the light.
So now I’ll walk the road to spread His fame,
For by the great high priest I’ve been atoned.
To all the Earth, I’ll zealously proclaim,
And live to see the God who died enthroned.
With apologies to Robert Burns
My best laid mousie plans gang aft agley,
The wee and tim’rous baby beastie screams,
The hopes I had are all in disarray,
For who has any time for future schemes,
When up to here with noise and infant wee?
The past and future are but distant dreams,
And now the present only toucheth me.
The life I thole’s not fit for man or mouse,
With only daimen icker for my tea.
And though I never like to moan and grouse,
As if that weren’t enough to wreck my day,
Some berk just drove his plough right through my house.
My lovely, sleekit coat is turning grey,
My best laid mousie plans gang aft agley.
A year ago, I knew I didn’t know
A thousand things which I would come to learn,
But no one said how fast I’d have to grow,
How totally my life would overturn.
I knew that there’d be times when it was tough,
And how important marriage vows would be,
But no one said, when all was not enough,
How much I’d lean on her, and she on me.
I knew that love for him would fill my heart,
That greater love than this is hard to find,
But no one said that it’s a thing apart:
It’s not just more, it’s of a different kind.
Perhaps they did, but ‘til I lived this year,
I did not have the state of mind to hear.